Mária Šidová, rod. Almássyová

* 1937

  • “Well, the sisters [nuns, Ed.] forgot contents of the suitcase with the letter somewhere. They were afraid to pick it up. After certain time it was revealed that Father Hutyra didn’t emigrate, but was hiding in Czechoslovakia. However, they didn’t know where. Thus they arrested his brother in law and forced him to disclose some facts. He was interrogated for three days and he died afterwards. There were three orphans left behind. They gave us echo of what had happened and that he informed the ŠtB about Fr. Ján being hidden in Ružomberok. In the meantime, we found him a new place to stay. Unfortunately, we were monitored and he got arrested. Our family was being detained in turns. My dad, mom, me. One was released, another one was taken and this took some time. One day they came to me to the post office, where I worked, and told me to go with them for some interview. I didn’t know, what was it supposed to be about. However, they drove me directly to Prague – Ruzyně through Banská Bystrica in Tatraplan [vehicle Tatra 600, Ed.].”

  • “I was telling them only what I had to. What I didn’t have to, I didn’t say. I can’t say they would have been physically attacking me or hurting me. But investigations at night were really tough, because the sleep was afflicted. Besides that, we didn’t sleep at all. I was on an iron plank-bed that was dropped from the ceiling. On this I had only a thin sheet and a blanket. I had to sleep on my back and there was a 100W bulb glowing above my head. Of course I wanted to turn around during the sleep, but as soon as I tried, the guard began banging on the iron-bar door with his boot. The halls there were huge. Ruzyně was a huge building. It was resounding everywhere. As they banged with boots on one side of the hall, it was quite loud on the other end, too. Thus the waking up was really painful, we were very tired. The light was even worse. If you try to narrow your eyes and look directly to the sun, it’s just about to burn your eyes. I was half-blind and lacking sleep. I consider this to be the most difficult era.”

  • “All of these women were criminals. Sole catastrophe. We lived in old reconstructed sheep barns; they placed there 17 double beds and these ‘vermin’, the women.” “Did you have any incidents with them?” “Well, I was like a little mouse, but they tried to seek after me. One of them threatened me. Some of them became mad, mainly the murderers. They knew everything about everyone. They called me ‘a nun’. This one murderer used to come to me every night; she would just stand above me while I was sleeping. As soon as I woke up, she would ask me, where I had hidden her child. She killed her own child and I was supposed to tell her, where she buried him. I was terrified and with great fear I used to wake up because of what was going on there. What an awful company!”

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    Ružomberok, 15.10.2017

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It was just the matter of time of catching him

Mária Šidová - before arrest (50´s)
Mária Šidová - before arrest (50´s)
zdroj: z archívu pamätníčky

Mária Šidová, née Almássyová, comes from the village of Liptovská Štiavnica. She is the eldest of four children, two of them died in their early age. The Almássy family actively helped and was hiding people in times of the Slovak National Uprising, as well helped those later persecuted by the communist regime. In years 1952 - 1958 they were hiding Ján Hutyra, a persecuted priest of the Congregation of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul. Mária actively took part on passing secret messages to religious sisters in Bohemia. After Ján Hutyra was traced and arrested, she was finally in April 1958 also arrested and interrogated in Prague - Ruzyně prison. In September 1958 she was sentenced for assistance in anti-state activity to one and a half-year imprisonment, which she served in Ruzyně, later in a women‘s penal labor camp in Želiezovce. In the fall of 1959 she was released. In 1960 she got married to a former political prisoner Leopold Šido and they had five children together. During the whole period of communist regime she was persecuted and dismissed from her jobs based on negative cadre evaluations. After 1989 she became a member of organizations involved in commemorating crimes of communism and was honored by various awards. Nowadays she lives retired in Ružomberok.